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Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert eligible to return

Eifert went on short-term Injured Reserve after dislocating his elbow during the regular season opener in Baltimore. Based on comments over the last few weeks, we probably shouldn't expect him to play this week against the Browns.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is eligible come off Injured Reserve on Monday. Whether or not he actually does come off IR, completely depends on the likelihood that he'll play this Thursday when Cincinnati hosts the Cleveland Browns. Eifert suffered a dislocated elbow during the regular season opener in Baltimore. Cincinnati placed Eifert on the short-term Injured Reserve list, which requires a player to miss eight games before they're eligible to return.

However, the revised question now is: Is he rehabilitated enough to play and if not now, when? Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. tweeted an update several weeks ago that offered pessimism about Eifert's likelihood to play this Thursday. beat writer Geoff Hobson shared a similar perspective in a Hobson's Choice posting on Oct. 21.

Eifert is eligible to practice Wednesday and play against Cleveland Nov. 6, but that's not going to happen. How he’s progressing is anyone’s guess. He’s out of the sling, but it is going to depend on how much he can bend the elbow. He could be ready by the 10th game in New Orleans on Nov. 16.

If Eifert is unable to play this Thursday, Cincinnati will keep him on Injured Reserve and thus a continuation as a roster exemption -- if he's activated, then the team will have to make a roster move, which makes no sense if he's going to miss Thursday's game anyway.

Earlier this month, Lewis offered an update about his actual rehabilitation.

"Tyler's coming along fine," Lewis said. "He's doing a good job. He's gaining his strength back in his bicep and everything. He continues to work hard for his recovery."

But, he added pessimism when it comes to Eifert returning on a short week.

"Obviously we wouldn't put him in to play with practice on a short week even if he was going to play anyway," Lewis said last month.

Eifert secured 39 receptions for 447 yards receiving and three scores last season. During his lone game this year, Eifert posted three grabs for 37 yards receiving.